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Authors: Rachel Gibson

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

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BOOK: Crazy on You
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He lifted his face and came up for air. “Lily,” he gasped.

She looked into his eyes, dark and sleepy with lust, and reached for the bottom of his sweater. She pulled it over his head and tossed it to the wooden floor. She lowered her gaze to the brown hair on his hard, defined chest. For some reason, she’d thought his chest would be bare. But it wasn’t. He was a man with a man’s chest and a thin line of hair trailed down his flat abdomen, circled his navel, and darted beneath the waistband of his Levi’s. A snarling bulldog was tattooed on the ball of his shoulders with the words U
.
S
.
ARMY inked beneath. RELENTLESS
was tattooed in heavy black ink on the inside of his forearm, which described him perfectly: his hands, his mouth, and the lust rolling off him in heavy, relentless waves.

She bent forward and kissed his shoulder, ran her fingers across his pec and down his belly to the front of his jeans. She squeezed his erection and caressed him through the denim. Desire, hot and gripping, tightened her breasts and stomach and pulled between her legs.

“Wait.” He grabbed her shoulders and turned her until her back was against his chest. He reached for the zipper on the back of her dress and slid it down. Through the old bordello mirror, she watched as he slid her dress from her shoulders. Just before it slipped down her arms, she placed her hands on the sequins over her breasts.

“I have implants,” she told him. She hadn’t worn a bra because strap lines showed beneath the tight dress, and in a moment he would see the thin scars beneath each areola.

Confusion lowered his brows. “What?”

“I have breast implants. Do you have a problem with that?”

“Is that a trick question?”

She shook her head as he grasped her wrists. “Some men don’t like implants.”

In the mirror, he raised his gaze from her hands to her face. “A man told you that?”

She shook her head. “A few women in my chair over the years have mentioned it.”

“A man would never say that unless he thought it would get him laid.” He shoved her wrists to her sides. For a second, her dress caught on her hard nipples then slid down her stomach to her waist. “Lily.” The breath left his lungs and brushed the side of her head. “You’re beautiful.”

The dress fell to the floor and she kicked it aside. She stood in front of the mirror wearing nothing but her white panties—owning a salon and spa made it easy for her to keep her pubic area waxed and trimmed into a perfect triangle hidden beneath her thong—but looking at her abdomen . . . it was flat but not as tight and toned as she’d like. She examined the palm-size yellow-and-orange lily tattoo on the inside of her hip that she’d thought was such a good idea six years ago. “Are you lying to get laid?” She tried to turn to face him, away from her image in the mirror, but his hands moved to her abdomen and he pulled her against him. The hair on his chest tickled her bare back. She felt completely wrapped up, surrounded by his relentless passion.

“I’ll never lie to you, Lily.” He slid one hand up and cupped her breast. Her hard nipple stabbed his warm palm and her breath caught in her lungs. “You’re so beautiful and I ache to be with you.”

She knew the feeling. She ached too. All over. Then he slipped his hand beneath the little triangle of her thong and touched her where she ached most.

“You’re wet,” he whispered next to her ear. “Push your panties down for me. Push ’em down around your ankles.” He brushed this thumb across her nipple and again she had to lock her knees to keep from sliding to the floor. She did as he asked, then looked at his big hands—one covering her breast the other her crotch. He slid his fingers deeper between her thighs and she reached behind her bare bottom and slipped her own hand beneath the waistband of his jeans. She wrapped her hand around his hot thick shaft and squeezed. She reached up with her free hand and brought his mouth down to hers. She gave him a long wet kiss and her heart pounded in her chest. She loved the way he touched her. She wanted him every bit as much as he wanted her.

Tucker lifted his mouth from Lily’s and looked into the deep blue of her heavily lidded eyes. He turned his attention to the mirror and watched his hands on her body . . . on the perfect patch between her legs, and his fingers lightly pinching her pink nipples. Her hand gripping his cock was driving him close to the edge. She tore at the buttons of his Levi’s, and he pulled a condom from his back pocket a second before his pants slid down his legs.

“Grab the desk with your hands.”

She stepped one foot out of her thong, the she bent foreword and looked back over her shoulder at him. “You remember the no man’s land, right?”

“I’ll never do anything you’re not comfortable doing.” He didn’t want to hurt her. He wanted to make it so good she wanted more. He pulled himself out of his boxer-briefs and rolled the condom down the shaft of his penis. “Spread your feet a little bit for me.”

She did and he slid his hand over her bottom and between her legs. She was wet and ready and he parted her slick flesh. Her back arched as he positioned himself and he slid into the hot pleasure of her body. She was incredibly tight around him. Pulling him deeper and deeper until he couldn’t sink any deeper.

She moaned low in her throat and whispered his name. He looked in the mirror, at him naked behind her, her beautiful face turned back, looking at him.
Mine,
he thought as he pulled out and thrust into her again. She pushed her bottom against him. Straining, wanting more. He gave it to her in long powerful thrusts. He drove inside again and again, his heart pounded
boom-boom-boom.
Mine. Mine. Mine.
Over the roar in his head and ears, he heard her say his name. Telling him she wanted him. More. Harder.

“Tucker,”
she moaned loud enough to be heard in the next county as he felt the first tightening pulse of her orgasm. Good, he thought on some primal level. He was sure they were the only two left in the salon, but he didn’t care. If there was anyone around, they’d know what the two of them were doing. Know they were together. That she belonged to him now. He’d never been a possessive man, but as her orgasm pulled his own release from deep in his belly, he knew that he wanted this to last forever.

The most intense pleasure he’d ever felt in his life rippled through his body and slammed into his heart. It spread fire across his skin, grabbed his insides, and stole his breath. He doubled over and planted his hands on the desk next to Lily’s. He buried his face in the curve of her neck and closed his eyes.

As crazy as it sounded . . . as crazy as it felt . . . as crazy as it was—he’d fallen in love with her even before he’d walked into her salon earlier. He’d fallen for her that first day in her driveway.

“Jesus,” he whispered. He’d never fallen so fast and hard and it scared the hell out of him. Scared him more than Taliban rounds whizzing past his nose and slamming into the granite mountain by his left ear. He’d been trained by the military what to do in combat. Trained by the sheriff’s department how to take down a felon bent on escape. But this? This was new territory. There was no training. No taking cover. No fighting back. There was just Lily and how she made him feel.

 

C
HAPTER
S
IX

 

M
onday morning, Lily pulled her Jeep into the parking lot of Crockett Elementary School and reached into the backseat. “My last appointment is at four. It’s just a cut and style so I should be home around six.” She stopped the SUV next to the sidewalk and handed Pippen his Angry Birds backpack. “What do you want for dinner?”

He wore his red coat zipped all the way to his chin and said into the nylon collar, “Pizza.”

Of course. She leaned toward him. “Give me some sugar, sugar.”

He unbuckled himself. “Tonight,” he said. He’d stopped giving her sugar at school last year, but a mom could always try. “Is Tucker coming to play basketball today?”

She shrugged. “He’s working, so I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him.” Not since he’d left her house yesterday around noon. Only half an hour before Ronnie had dropped Pippen off home. Four hours early, which was so typical of Ronnie. She hadn’t been all that surprised. She was just glad she’d been alone and had taken a shower.

Pippen opened the door and slid out of the car. “Maybe he will.”

“Maybe.” She gave him a little wave. “Love you, Pip.”

“Love you, Momma.” He shut the door and she watched him run to a group of his friends hanging out near the playground equipment. She took her foot off the brake and drove out of the parking lot. Her first appointment today wasn’t until noon. Her assistant manager was certainly capable of running the salon when Lily wasn’t there.

She stopped at a red light and thought about the last time she’d been in the salon, having sex with Tucker in her office. Sex that had been so good she might have moaned Tucker’s name a little too loud. She hoped she hadn’t and that everyone had already left the building like he’d said. By the time they’d redressed and left the office, the salon had been empty. Thank God.

After she’d left the salon that night, Tucker followed her home in his truck and they’d spent the rest of the night in her bed—having sex and talking. At least she’d talked. It seemed like every time she asked him questions about himself, he changed the subject back to her or kissed her until she didn’t feel like talking anymore.

She pulled her Jeep into the garage and closed the door. She couldn’t exactly be angry about his lack of personal disclosure. There were certain things in her past that she wasn’t going to talk about either.

The cell in her purse rang before she even got in the back door. She figured it was someone at the salon and answered without looking at the number. “This is Lily.”

“This is your neighbor. Come over so I can kiss you good night.”

Lily smiled. “Mom?”

Tucker chuckled and she could see his smile in her head. A smile that curved his lips and lit up his brown eyes. “Come over or I’ll come over and get you.”

She couldn’t have that. Her mother might walk in. “Give me a few minutes.” She hung up and changed out of the yoga outfit she’d worn in anticipation of working out. She had a whole different workout in mind now and changed into a pink-and-blue polka dot nighty, pink thong, and pink cowboy boots. She tied her trench coat around her waist and checked her pink lipstick in the mirror.

There were three boards missing at the back of the fence that separated her yard from Tucker’s. The previous owner’s Newfoundland, Griffin, had always preferred her yard to his; and no matter how many times she’d fixed the boards, Griffin knocked them down whenever he heard Pippen playing outside. Griffin had been a sweetheart of a dog–huge, but a sweetheart who’d had a real fondness for Pip. After about the fifth time of Griffin knocking down the boards, Lily had given up and left them stacked neatly on the ground.

Lily grabbed a pot of coffee on her way out the door.

Tucker had said several times that he wanted her. He wanted everything about her, but he didn’t know everything about her. He didn’t know her past. He didn’t know that people thought she was crazy. At least, she figured if he did know, he would have mentioned it right before he took off running for the hills. She wasn’t going to be the one to tell him.

She moved through her yard, slipped through the fence, and knocked on his back door. “Italian roast?” she asked and held up the pot as he answered the door.

His brows pulled over his eyes and his scar wrinkled. “How did you get back here?” He wore a beige cold-weather base layer that clung to his chest and arms like a second skin. And of course his work pants and boots.

“A few boards are missing in the fence.”

He held the door open and she stepped inside. “Convenient.”

The kitchen was pretty much as she recalled from the last time she’d been in the place, when the realtor had spruced up the place for an open house. Oak cabinets, white walls, new gray counter tops, and vinyl flooring with a stone pattern. A small black cat sat by the door to the garage, lapping up milk from one of two purple bowls with flowers painted around the edges. The bowls sat on a little white rug with the name PINKY written in pink at the bottom.

Lily set the carafe on the counter and reached for her belt. “My mom told me you have a cat.”

“Pinky got out and I had to track her down that day I met your mother,” Tucker said as he reached into a cupboard and pulled out two plain white mugs. “Pinky has no survival skills.”

Lily bit the side of her lip to keep from laughing. “How did you end up with a cat with no survival skills?”

“She belonged to an old girlfriend.”

“And she just gave her to you?” Lily shrugged out of her coat, hung it over a chair, and stooped down by the little cat.

“Not exactly. The girlfriend moved out and left her cat behind.”

The hem of the nighty slid down her thighs as she lightly stroked the cat from the back of her head to her tail. “She abandoned her animal?” Lily couldn’t imagine that. She liked cats but didn’t have a pet because she wasn’t home enough to take care of one. Now that Griffin was gone, Pippen was harassing her for a dog.

When Tucker didn’t answer her question, she looked up over her shoulder at him. He stood in the middle of the room—two mugs of coffee in his hands, like his feet were frozen in place. “What?”

“What are you wearing?”

She stood. “A comfy nighty and my cowboy boots.”

“Panties?” He held the mug toward her as his eyes slid over his body.

“No self-respecting Southern lady leaves the house without her hair in place, her makeup done, and her panties on.” She took the mug from his hand and blew into it. “That sort of fast behavior could lead to a bad reputation. I went to high school with Francine Holcomb, and she left the house without wearing her undies on more than one occasion. Her reputation never did recover. ’Course, everyone knew that Francie was as loose as grits, bless her heart.” She took a sip. She was nervous and had to stop before she sounded like her mother. “How was your day?”

He brought his gaze up to hers. “Better now.”

For the first time since she’d stepped in his kitchen, she noticed the pinch of exhaustion at the corners of his brown eyes. “You look tired. Did something happen at work?”

He shrugged a shoulder and leaned his hip into a counter. “I responded to a call about one this morning at Rodale Jewelry store on Seventh near the highway. When I got there, a guy was trying to kick in the back door. He saw me and took off.” He took a swallow of coffee. “I chased him for about half a mile before I caught him climbing inside a Dumpster behind Rick’s Bait & Tackle.”

Lily wrinkled her nose. “Did you have to climb into the Dumpster?”

“I grabbed his belt just as he was diving in and pulled him back out. It was real ripe too. Smelled like Rick had just thrown out some expired bait. If I’d had to jump in there and get covered with fish eggs and dead crickets, I’d have been pissed.”

She couldn’t imagine running in work boots and gear. She was in good shape, but probably would have passed out after a hundred feet. “Was he from around here?”

“Odessa.” Tucker looked at the scratches across the back of his hand. “He was scrappy for such a skinny guy.”

Lily moved toward him and took his hand in hers. “How’d this happen?”

“He didn’t want to be cuffed very badly, and I scrapped it on the concrete trying to dig his arm from underneath him.”

She raised his hand to her mouth and lightly kissed it. “Better?”

“Yes.” He looked back into her eyes and nodded. “He tried to kick me in the balls too.”

“I’m not going to kiss your hairy balls, Tucker.”

He chuckled like he thought he was real funny. “Didn’t hurt to mention it.”

She dropped his hand and thought for a moment. “Well, maybe if you got them waxed.”

He sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Do men do that?”

“Some men.” He looked so horrified it was her turn to chuckle. “They wax their whole bodies. It’s called manscaping.”

He set his mug on the counter. “No one is going to put hot wax anywhere near my balls.” He ran his hands up her arms and pulled her close.

“Don’t be a baby.” She set her mug on the counter next to his. “I get waxed.”

“I noticed.” He grinned. “I like it. It makes going down on you real nice and neat. I can see what I’m doing.”

Her eyes widened and she felt color creep up her cheeks. “You looked at my . . . my crotch.”

“Of course. My face was down there. I don’t know why you’re embarrassed. You’ve got a real nice . . .” He paused as if searching for the right word then gave up. “I don’t like the word
crotch
. I’ve got a crotch. You’re all high and tight and pretty down there. Like a juicy peach.” His brows drew together. “Or is that one of those things I shouldn’t say?”

She didn’t know. She supposed it was a compliment, but it had been a while since she’d been involved with a man. She couldn’t recall if they talked so free and easy in the beginning or if they saved their real thoughts for later—after they reached that comfortable stage. Or was it just Tucker? “Have you always talked this way to women?” Or maybe guys Tucker’s age where just more direct.

He looked up toward the ceiling and thought a minute. “No.” His gaze returned to hers. “I used to have a filthy mouth. When I was in the Army I talked a lot worse. I had to work really hard to get the f-word out of every sentence. I couldn’t even ask for the ketchup without dropping it at least twice. In the military, swearing is not only a way of life, it’s an art form.” He slid his hands across her shoulders to her neck and his thumbs brushed her chin and jaw. “Living with a bunch of guys for months on end in a bunker in an Afghanistan outpost will turn anyone into an animal. You get shot at every day, live in dirt, and the food’s shitty. Inventive swearing is just something to do to pass the time and impress the other guys.”

“You must have liked it. You did it for ten years.”

“I loved it right up until the second that I didn’t.”

“What made you decide you didn’t love it anymore?” She put her palms on his flat belly and brushed her fingers across the fabric of his shirt. She knew he loved it when she ran her hands all over him. Her touch seemed to soothe even as it excited him. And she loved the feel of his hard muscles and tight skin beneath her hand and mouth.

“The last time I took rounds, I got shot five times. Four were stopped by my ballistic plates.” Her fingers stopped and she raised her gaze to where he pointed at the scar on his forehead. “The fifth got me here and I decided I didn’t want to be taken out that way. I’d given the Army enough. It was time to do something else. When my enlistment was up, I got out.”

She stared at his forehead, horrified. “You could have died, Tucker. I bet your family was worried sick.”

“I didn’t die and I’m here with you.” He kissed her upturned mouth. “I like having you here when I come home. You should come over every morning.”

She settled against his chest. “I can’t every morning. I have to work.”

“What time do you work today?”

“I have to be there by noon.”

He raised the big watch on his wrist. “Then why are we out here wasting time?” He reached for her hand, led her out of the kitchen, and through the living room. She got a quick impression of wood and leather and real art on the walls—no nudie posters or dogs playing poker painted on velvet. He had a big screen TV and books. They continued down the hall and she looked in a bathroom that appeared surprisingly clean. She hadn’t known what to expect, but not this. Not this grown-up house, with big-boy furniture. It just didn’t fit her preconceived image of him. “Do you play Xbox?”

“I’m thirty, not thirteen.” He stopped next to a bed with a real headboard. “I’m only too glad to show you I’m a grown man. Although, after our sexual three-peat the other night, I’m surprised it’s even in question.”

D
uring the next few weeks, Lily snuck through the back fence several more times after she took Pippen to school. There were some women, she supposed, who would have qualms about sneaking around. That would feel uneasy or guilty or that she was doing something wrong. Lily wasn’t one of them. She liked Tucker. She liked spending time with him. She was wildly attracted to him and he made her laugh. He seemed to have his head on straight and he was good to her son. He was also very good in bed, and she didn’t want to stop sneaking through the fence to spend time with him.

BOOK: Crazy on You
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